8 Myths About the FAFSA Form and Applying for Financial Aid
Higher Education Here are some common myths — and the real scoop — about financial aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
There’s so much information available about financial aid for college or career school that it can be hard to tell the facts from fiction. The U.S. Department of Education office of Federal Student Aid has got you covered.
1. My parents make too much money, so I won’t qualify for any aid
FACT: The reality is, there’s no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. It doesn’t matter if you have a low or high income; most people qualify for some type of financial aid, including low-interest federal student loans. Many factors besides income — such as your family size and your year in school — are taken into account.
TIP: When you fill out the FAFSA form, you’re also automatically applying for funds from your state and possibly from your school as well. In fact, some schools won’t even consider you for any of their scholarships (including academic scholarships) until you’ve submitted a FAFSA form. Don’t make assumptions about what you’ll get. Fill out the application and find out.
2. I support myself, so I don’t have to include my parent’s info on the FAFSA form
FACT: This is not necessarily true. Even if you support yourself, live on your own or file your own taxes, you may still be considered a dependent student for FAFSA purposes.
3. I should wait until I’m accepted to a college before I fill out the FAFSA form
FACT: Don’t wait. As a matter of fact, you can start as early as your senior year of high school. You must list at least one college to receive your information.
4. If I didn’t receive enough money for school, I’m just out of luck
FACT: You still have options. If you’ve received federal, state and college aid but still find yourself having to fill the gap between what your financial aid covers and what you owe your school, there are other options, including part-time work, payment plans and special circumstances reevaluation.
5. There’s only one FAFSA deadline and that’s not until June
FACT: Nope. There are at least three deadlines you need to check: your state, school and federal deadlines. You can find the state and federal deadlines at fafsa.gov. Also check scholarship deadlines.
6. I can share an FSA ID with my parent(s)
FACT: Nope, if you’re a dependent student, then two people will need their own FSA ID to sign your FAFSA form online: you (the student) and one of your parents.
An FSA ID is a username and password that you use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. It has the same legal status as a written signature.
7. Only students with good grades get financial aid
FACT: While a high grade point average will help you get into a good school and may help with academic scholarships, most federal student aid programs do not take grades into consideration when you first apply. To continue receiving aid throughout your college career, you will have to maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by your school.
8. It costs money to submit the FAFSA form
FACT: Absolutely not. You NEVER have to pay to complete the FAFSA form when you go to fafsa.gov. If you’re paying a fee, you’re not on the official government website.
What’s next? Remember, you’ll have to fill out the FAFSA form at fafsa.gov every year you’re in school in order to stay eligible for federal student aid.